Sunday, 2 March 2014

Nigel Melville to lobby for more North American internationals


USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville looks set to lobby this week for more test matches for the North Americans to match the other sides in the world over the 2015-19 period.

Up until last year, the North Americans USA and Canada usually player on average around 6 tests a year compared to about 11 most sides played. Players like Todd Clever or James Pritchard both have 54 caps which considering they both made their debuts over a decade ago and been first choice ever since isn't all very much. Here is a quick look at the possible options mentioned by Melville.

Status Quo: The North Americans were finally added to the Pacific Nations Cup in 2013 after for years being without a competition. This year they are set to play each other and Japan plus a test with Scotland, as well as 3 matches in November.

Pros - Lack of fixtures allows players more chances to get pro clubs.
Cons - Lack of fixtures and Canada left with only 2 home games in a year, neutral venue final probably somewhere like Colwyn Bay 5 months after the first games is anti climatic.

Joining the ENC: It has been suggested they could join the division below the 6 Nations and join the ENC and make it a Northern Hemisphere tournament along with their current fixture list.

Pros - Equal the rest of the world in quantity of fixtures, close and exciting matches, tournament play sells tickets better than friendlies for less marketable opponents, tournament would grow into a much better product and could get more attention and sponsorship.
Cons - Some really tough travel around the world for a round robin tournament expensive and could annoy clubs and force neutral games, would leave displaced ENC teams ticked off, might have to play the dreaded Russia away match filmed on a camera phone with 50 people watching, might get relegated won’t get promoted.

Extra release window: If they can't join the ENC Melville wants another release window to be scheduled for them to play similar to Argentina, probably during the Rugby Championship before the European season.

Pros - More fixtures, more home matches to gain revenue.
Cons - Really would annoy clubs missing players for pre season and might not get players available, questions as to who exactly they would play.

Comment below: Which schedule do you think fits best for Canada and USA?

1 comment :

  1. You should not say "joining the ENC", This must be thinked like a brand new commercially attractive tournament. Travel problems should force to only consider a four-team tournament without Russia.